Final push on equity

Opinion: Editorials

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Time for a deep breath.

OPRF High School is closing in on a racial equity policy. It is an essential step in codifying policy and practices around this critical and complex issue so that equity becomes baked into this school's DNA and is not just the passion of a sitting school board, a current superintendent, or an alliance of dedicated citizens.

We are battling a century plus of systemic racism in this school. Getting the equity policy across the finish line — strong, detailed, ambitious — must be the single goal in this moment.

But the last week has brought confusing stumbling. A weakened draft of a policy was released with the intention of going to the school board this week for a first reading. That was a stunning snafu and it incensed many members of the ad hoc committee which has been working on this policy for nearly a half-year. It undid good will toward the administration, an administration still held in suspicion by some equity activists. 

We are having a hard time sorting out how and why this happened. But after a weekend of intense public lobbying by activists, the draft policy was pulled from a Committee of the Whole meeting and another meeting of the equity committee was called for Thursday. That will be fascinating.

One take is that the district's lawyers watered down the language in the latest draft. Our take is that the lawyer's version should never be the final take on a topic this core to the mission and identity of this school. Our liability as a community isn't legal; it is moral. This school has failed generations of brown and black students. The policy of this school district must be to decisively change this course.

We are convinced that the current school board and the iteration to be seated next month are determinedly on board for a strong equity policy. We are convinced that the superintendent is equally passionate. We know equity activists are fully focused.

It is time to regroup, take the short amount of time necessary to realign for all parties to work toward the strongest equity policy. Half-steps and timidity are what, over decades, got us to this point. This is it. Make it happen.

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Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: April 22nd, 2019 11:35 AM

Lets form a collective where the unequal influences of parents can be entirely removed from the children. No half steps. All opposition must be crushed. No timid mercy against those who would stop the progress.

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